Elk State Forest
Elk State Forest derives its name from the great numbers of elk that once thrived in the area. It encompasses almost 217,000 acres of northern hardwood and mixed oak forest located in:
Today, visitors can once again see elk in the meadows and openings scattered throughout the state forest.
This is one of eight state forests located in the
Pennsylvania Wilds region and features the
Elk Country Visitor Center and a portion of the
Elk Scenic Drive.
Elk State Forest Management
DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry manages our state forests for their long-term health and productivity while conserving native wild plants. These forests are managed as “working forests” and provide a suite of uses and values to Pennsylvania citizens, while maintaining the forest’s wild character.
Our state forests are managed for:
The management of our state forests is guided by the
State Forest Resource Management Plan.
Elk State Forest Resource Management Plan
DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry has revised the Elk State Forest Resource Management Plan.
A district-level state forest management plan is written for each of the bureau’s 20 forest districts across the state. View the the
Elk State Forest Resource Management Plan (PDF).
2023 Management Activities
View Elk State Forest’s
2023 management activities (PDF) for upcoming projects and events to implement the State Forest Resource Management Plan.
Local state forest harvest schedules promote and maintain desired forest landscape conditions while providing a sustainable flow of forest products.
The Bureau of Forestry has adopted “ecosystem management” as its principal strategy for managing state forests. This approach seeks to conserve the natural patterns and processes of the forest while advancing long-term sustainability.
Ecosystem management promotes the conservation of plant and animal communities and the landscapes and habitats that support them. It also accounts for needs and values of people and communities.
This results in a holistic, integrated approach to managing forest resources.
A Working Forest
As you travel throughout the state forest, you’ll see examples of our forests “at work.” Some of these management practices are more noticeable than others, such as:
Others are subtle, such as:
Protection of a vernal pool
Buffering of a stream from timber harvesting
Designating a special area to conserve its wild character or protect a rare plant community
Each of these management practices and activities play a vital role in the management and conservation of our state forest system.
Dual Certified Forest
Pennsylvania’s 2.2-million-acre state forest system is one of the largest dual certified forests in North America. The forest is certified under Forest Stewardship Council™ and Sustainable Forestry Initiative© standards.
The FSC© is an independent organization supporting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.
SFI© certification focuses on protection of water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and forests with exceptional conservation value.
Dual certification ensures that Pennsylvania’s state forests are managed to the highest third-party standards.